Priyanka Ghosh shares a case study for services provided to a family-owned European industrial manufacturer that was struggling with leadership issues.
In the course of driving a growth program for a family-owned European industrial manufacturer, it quickly became clear that the dysfunctional leadership team was a bottleneck to progress. Although the team was composed of capable individuals with impressive track records, the ten team members were unable to agree on a coherent strategy and continued to revisit the same issues. The various departments seemed poorly informed about business activities outside their silos and they were particularly confused about how cross-functional decisions should be made. Gonzalo, the CEO, found himself in constantly firefighting to solve operational issues and placate disgruntled workers. Gonzalo approached ProMelior to bring order and efficiency to the leadership team before the growth program could go ahead.
Points covered in this article include:
- The situation
- The diagnostic
- The solution
Access the case study, Strategic Alignment of Leadership Teams, on the Promelior website.
Karen Barth explains why the majority of consumer products and corporate transformations fail due to cognitive biases.
Why do 80% of the 30,000 consumer products launched each year and 70% of corporate transformations fail?
Often business leaders are blinded by cognitive biases, which seriously affect their decision-making – and, as a result, the revenues and welfare of their companies. It can be hard to see these biases from the inside.
Take, for instance, one of Britain’s largest food companies. The CEO and other senior leaders were looking to expand into a new market – in this case, the U.S.
I worked with them to gather data, conduct customer research and review every aspect of building a food business in the U.S., from distribution channels to marketing. A key part of the planning process was focus group research, to be held in five U.S. cities.
I’ll never forget sitting in one such city on the other side of a large one-way mirror with two senior leaders who were assigned to work with me and my team on the expansion strategy. Within minutes of the group’s start, I saw expressions of shock on their faces.
The facilitator was trying to get twelve American participants to taste steak and kidney pie, one of the most popular dishes all of the U.K. They saw with their own eyes that the Americans wouldn’t even taste it. I witnessed one senior executive scream at some of the participants, he was so frustrated. “Just taste it you idiots.” he yelled at the Americans from behind the sound-proof mirror.
Read the full article, Doesn’t Everyone Think (and Eat,) Like I Do? A Taste of Bias, on the Cognitive Edge website.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Marcia Spitalney Nuffer with BlueShor. Marcia Nuffer spent 21 years at McKinsey. For roughly the first half, Marcia was a strategy consultant focused on helping organizations realize their business goals through organizational change and leadership development. In 2003, Marcia became McKinsey’s Chief Learning Officer. In this role, Marcia was responsible for building one of the most lauded global leadership development programs in the world and leading strategic people initiatives for the firm.
Today, Marcia has her own consulting firm, BlueShor, focusing on leadership and talent development, executive coaching, and people strategy. While serving companies and nonprofits of any size, Marcia has a particular interest in manager development at high growth companies.
Marcia is happy to collaborate on projects related to leadership and talent development – both strategically and programmatically – and talent strategy. She is also open to executive and team coaching opportunities. While Marcia’s major focus is the Atlanta area, her long-term global experience and the possibilities of remote work enable her to collaborate internationally as well.
Dan Markovitz shares why COVID-19 provides the opportunity to institute change.
“You’ve heard it countless times before:
‘People don’t like change.’
‘Change is hard.’
‘Change activates people’s lizard brain. They’ll fight you or run away.’
‘People don’t mind changing. They don’t like being changed.’
You hear these complaints so often that you’d think they’re inscribed in the 10 Commandments by now. (They’re not, by the way.)
Sure, there’s plenty of truth in those sayings, but the good news is that right now—in the middle of the Covid-19 outbreak—they’re less relevant than ever. If you want to make a change at your organization, now’s the time to do it.
The habits that people develop are like ruts in a dirt road. Whether you’re driving, biking, or hiking on that road, it’s really tough to get out of the ruts. You get stuck in the well-worn grooves that you or others have formed over the years. Which pant leg do you put on first? Do you brush first and then floss, or floss and then brush? How do you interlace your fingers? Good luck changing any of those habits.
Except when a flood washes out the road and you (and everyone else) is forced to bushwhack across new territory. Everything is thrown into turmoil, and the old habits no longer apply. When the road is gone, so is the rut.
Read the full article, Covid-19 Is The Best Thing To Happen To Your Company. Seriously., on the Markovitz consulting website.
Jennifer Hartz shares encouraging words on how the current COVID-19 situation provides the opportunity to learn, grow, and serve.
Obviously, #COVID19 creates a number of significant problems in the world, our country, businesses, nonprofits, governments, and schools. This temporary situation, current trend, or permanent transformation is challenging. So, let’s look at the opportunities for people working or learning remotely or not employed full time to improve their lives as well as others’.
REMOTE WORK IS EXPANDING
Twitter announced that most employees don’t ever have to go back to the office. “Continue working from home, or anywhere else that makes them happy and productive, forever.” Google and Facebook have extended work from home (WFH) through the end of 2020. California State University Campuses will not open for Fall Semester; on-line classes continue. Certainly, these organizations are not going to be alone in their shift from traditional offices and classrooms.
SADLY, UNEMPLOYMENT/UNDEREMPLOYMENT IS EXPANDING TOO
Read the full article, No Commute? Time for Service!, on the CorporateHartz website.
David Burnie’s company has published a timely blog on the 21 common mistakes many companies make when rolling out their business continuity plan.
A business continuity plan is essential for preventing and recovering from emergencies and incidents that can disrupt a business.
We recently shared our top 13 priorities for a strong BCP. While not having a BCP is a sure-fire pitfall to successful business continuity, there are other things to keep in mind. Here are some of the common pitfalls to look out for when executing business continuity plans.
The mistakes covered in the article include:
- Business continuity preparation
- Communication approach
- Systems failover
Read the full article, 21 Things Companies Do Wrong When Executing Business Continuity Plans, on the Burnie Group website.
Jason George shares an origin story of management consulting and lessons from the barnyard to highlight the benefits of putting people and practice before personal profit.
Marvin Bower faced a critical choice. He had led McKinsey & Company from its earliest years, in the process helping to define the fledgling field of management consulting. Now nearing retirement age, it was time to hand the reins to the next generation of leaders. As the principal shareholder in the partnership, Bower’s ownership stake was a gold mine, appreciating to many multiples of its value since his joining roughly thirty years prior.
To cash out he could sell to a third-party buyer interested in taking over operations. Alternatively, he could require the current partners of the firm to buy out his stake at market value. This would involve significant indebtedness that could constrain future agility.
Bower chose a radical, nearly unprecedented path. When the time came for him to step down as managing director, he elected to sell his shares back to the partnership at their nominal book value instead of their true market price. In the process he would forego a massive windfall, while also setting an example that would reverberate throughout the organization for decades to come. For Bower, a one-time gain was not worth more than investing in the culture and health of the institution he had laboriously built up.
Points of interest in this article include:
- Bain & Company’s downturn
- The twist in modern capitalism
- Establishing the ownership structure for investing
Read the full article, How giving away value can create more, on Jason’s website.
Amanda Setili shares eight steps you can take to mitigate stress and uncertainty during the current crisis.
I’ve been astounded by the degree and speed of innovation and change these last few weeks.
Things that in normal times would have taken months or years to do have been accomplished in days, largely because people are banding together to help each other. In the midst of suffering, stress, and a good bit of fear, there is more kindness than ever.
And as a society, we’re learning faster than at any other time in my lifetime.
People have shifted to remote work, retailers have ramped up store pickup services, governments have created relief programs, factories have shifted to making personal protective equipment, the Army is building temporary hospitals, and scientists and regulators are speeding new treatments to market. It’s impressive.
The steps outlined include:
- Supporting the needs of society
- Employee retention
- Customer support
- Cashflow forecast
Read the full article, Innovation amid Stress and Uncertainty, on the Setili website.
During times of crises leaders must make the tough decisions, but choosing the right way to go is not always clear cut. Zaheera Soomar identifies three practical approaches to serve as guidelines for ethical decision-making.
During a recent conversation with a senior executive, she expressed a sentiment that many of us share: “When the pandemic has passed, I want to be able to say that, at the hardest of times, I did my best to do the right thing”. During this pandemic, leaders are expected to make difficult decisions with far-reaching consequences.
Ethical decision-making becomes even more important in times of crisis.
Leaders are constantly faced with ethical decisions, with all of the challenges associated with meeting the expectations of various stakeholders – investors, employees, customers, partners, regulators, local communities, and society at large. These decisions are rarely simple, bringing together financial considerations with deep-rooted beliefs about the right thing to do: Costco’s raising of its minimum wage, Woolworths’ decision to get out of liquor and gambling and Salesforce’s decision to bar certain firearms companies from using its services all represent tough decisions informed by ethics and values. Leaders must make decisions with limited knowledge, predicting their impact, and have confidence and trust that the compromises and trade-offs are the right ones.
Included in this article:
- Align your decisions with your purpose
- Follow agreed and actionable principles
- Prioritise and plan your decisions and actions
Read the full article, Making Good Decisions in times of Crisis, on the Principia website.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Swan Sit. wan Sit is an independent consultant specializing in digital, marketing and strategy. Having spent the past decade of her career accelerating digital into legacy companies, she held two key roles as a Vice President at Nike — overseeing Global Digital Marketing during the Emmy-winning “Dream Crazy” campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, and running Digital Operations, Product, Supply Chain and Service for a $2B ecommerce business during the Air Jordan 11 Concord launch, the largest in online history. She led digital at Revlon and Elizabeth Arden, using it to pull them out of a turnaround, and ran online strategy for the Esteé Lauder Companies, increasing its digital footprint to 400+ sites across 50 countries in 5 years. From modernizing hundred-year-old brands and partnering with unexpected influencers like Chelsea Handler, Iris Apfel and Gigi Gorgeous, to launching augmented reality makeovers and driving double-digit growth, Swan has demonstrated both the left- and right-brain skills required for a marketer that drives revenue. She was selected as a Brand Innovators 40 under 40 and Marketing Woman to Watch, and took home both Best Social Campaign and Best in Show at the Glossy Awards. You might recognize her as one of the faces in Twitter’s national “She Inspires Me” campaign during the Oscars, or from judging the world’s largest hackathon in Saudi Arabia alongside Steve Wozniak.
Prior to beauty, Swan was a management consultant at Bain, owned an ad agency focused on emotional branding, was a product manager at Newell (she launched a factory in China during SARS) and created infamous marketing campaigns at Trilogy Software during the dotcom boom. Swan graduated with a BA in Economics from Harvard and an MBA from Columbia.
Swan does speaking engagements around the world on Marketing, Digital Transformation and Leadership in the Digital Age. She is a Board Director of a publicly-traded pharmaceuticals company, advises a variety of businesses and sits on the boards of industry and philanthropic organizations including AdWeek’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, L2 Digital Think Tank, Women in Retail, Consumer Goods Technology Council, Impact Network, Foundation Rwanda and Worldview’s space think tank. Having traveled to 85+ countries, her favorites include Antarctica, North Korea, Mongolia, Rwanda, Bhutan, Myanmar and Tanzania for Kilimanjaro. She can often be found smashing a volleyball and chasing restaurant openings, or flying around on skis and horses – her two newest hobbies.
Amanda Setili shares a post that identifies a few ways we can take positive action during the current crisis.
Billions of us worldwide are altering our behaviors during the covid 19 crisis, so that as many people as possible remain safe.
When faced with a tough situation—even something big, like the coronavirus situation—I always ask: how can we mitigate the downside, and create some good?
We are living in strange times, and things are changing every day. Schools are closed and colleges have sent students home; flights, conferences and events have been cancelled; millions of employees are suddenly working remotely. Events this spring are likely to change the way we think, plan and do business for years to come.
Areas covered in this article include:
- Employees, process and finance
- Innovation and agility
Read the full article, Finding the Positive, Even in Challenging Times, on the Setili website.
Vik Muktavaram recently published an article that evaluates the current crisis through four approaches of risk management.
“As the federal government finally took the first decisive step in stemming the outbreak of COVID-19 in the US, the images of serpentine lines of arriving international passengers at airports waiting for immigration and screening for COVID-19 coronavirus ubiquitous online and in print. Presumably, the rationale for the screening was that these arriving passengers represented a high-risk cohort. Yet, the long, crowded lines with no social distancing not only defeats the very purpose of screening but in fact, one could argue that the risk of spreading is increased substantially amongst the ground staff as well as passengers from different airlines.
As we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, we should also be wondering how did we miss this when all the signs were there. How did some countries such as Singapore and South Korea manage to contain, if not necessarily prevent, the spread of virus in their countries despite their proximity to China? Risk Management is a structured way of looking at early indicators and prioritizing risks and then managing these risks. As our crisis response continues to be a case study in “how not to”, let’s take a step back to see how the risk (low likelihood, high impact) of a virus-pandemic became a crisis.”
The four approaches explored are:
- Risk Transfer
- Risk Acceptance
- Risk Avoidance
- Risk Mitigation
Read the full article, Covid-19 in the U.S. How a Risk became a Crisis, on the Rithym Advisors’ website.
Jesse Jacoby shares a timeless post that explains how leaders can overcome overt and covert resistance to change.
In your role as a leader, you will likely encounter resistance to change at some point from one or more of your own team members. Resistance may come from a variety of sources:
- An individual with a difficult personality
- Someone anxious about impending change
- A person who disagrees with your vision
Resistance is usually demonstrated in one of four ways, each with the potential to create roadblocks for you:
- Lack of Communication – Leaving you out of the loop in terms of key information or not discussing issues openly
- Lack of Support – Foot-dragging on key initiatives you try to implement
- Counterproductive Criticism – Being overly critical of you and your ideas
- Passive Aggressive Behavior – Agreeing to do something, but then not doing anything
The steps to overcome resistance include:
- Being alert to the signs of resistance
- How to gain an understanding of the employee’s perspective
- Defining the positive behaviors you want to see, and be clear about your expectations
- What to do if the resistance becomes habitual
Read the full article, How Leaders Can Manage Team Member Change Resistance, on the Emergent Journal website.
David A. Fields identifies benefits consulting firms should focus on during this time of crisis.
There are so many voices fixated on the disaster unfolding around us, that you could easily be swept into a torrent of anxiety, fear and panic.
In truth, there is real reason for concern and you absolutely should heed the direction of medical leaders. At the same time, you and your consulting firm will benefit from a healthy dose of positive perspective.
If you ferociously cling to positive thought patterns while chaos is swirling around you, you and your consulting firm can maintain a clear head and promote forward progress.
Fortunately, there are many realistic, reliable reasons for you to feel upbeat.
Eight thought-starters are listed below, and I’ve left two spots open for you to fill in—one more than usual, because I know the entire consulting community will benefit from your inspiring thoughts.
Read the full article, 10 Positive Facts Your Consulting Firm Should Obsess over During this Crisis, on David’s blog.
Luiz Zorzella shares key points that can help leaders evaluate and address their approach to change to ensure better outcomes.
Strategy & Value
For the past 10 years, financial services firms have publicly acknowledged that they needed to change. Chances are, your organization was one of those.
Commoditization meant a systematic erosion of margins for banks; reduction in interest rates has been challenging both interest and non-interest income sources of banks and investment firms as well as the economics of insurance; and technology has posed a constant threat of disintermediation and radical value-adding substitutes.
However, just like the proverbial frog in the heating water, most business leaders have responded incrementally – aiming at matching the pace of change they observed in the market and improving their results within the parameters of their existing business model.
The problem is that change has arrived and it does not look like we expected. While COVID-19 ravages lives, economies and markets, clients and stakeholders alike are looking at financial service firms and asking that they help them weather the storm. They are calling you to change with them.
Points covered in this article include:
- Find you calling
- Evolve and decommodotize
- Reforge your ways of working
- Take the technology plunge
Read the full article, Is this Crisis Your Strategy Crucible, on the Amquant website.
Surbhee Grover takes a moment to think about the future and how the Coronavirus will change the way we work and live.
Our lives, as we’ve known them, have come to a grinding halt. What will the world look like when the music starts again?
In the time we are not obsessing with COVID-19 updates, or trying to revive the business; ensure availability of dog food (and wine), and survive homeschooling, some of us are starting to wonder what the future holds. Here’s my initial take on what comes after. These are not analytical forecasts, nor predictions – it is too soon for that, the data is too sparse, things are still too raw, and emotions too fickle. These are merely anecdote and observation-inspired musings, intended as stimulus to spark a discussion.
Key areas covered in this article:
- Work from home culture
- The benefits for dogs, the drawback for cats
Read the full article on LinkedIn.
Stefan Falk has summarized some of the key talking points across some 50+ coaching sessions on the Coronavirus topic, and more specifically on how to keep the people in the client organizations mentally healthy and productive in this demanding situation.
- The nature of the mental challenge for people
Since most people will work from home and not move around as usual due to the risk of being infected, and because many of our natural places for socializing (restaurants, events, gyms, etc.) are unavailable, the risk to experience unhealthy levels of anxiety among people is potentially big due to the following anxiety drivers:
– People will consciously and subconsciously sense that they have lost their freedom(s) and are restricted
– People risk be less physically active
– People will potentially be exposed to less sensory stimuli which can lead to sensory deprivation; mild forms of sensory deprivation leads to irritation, frustration, and unhealthy rumination. Severe forms can lead to aggressiveness and violence.
There are real and perceived threats in this situation that can drive fear and anxiety.
One threat is obviously the virus itself (the risks that I will be infected and the risks that my friends and loved ones will be infected). Another equally obvious and potential threat is job and financial security.
Right now the areas and levels of uncertainty for what will happen are high, for example:
– Even if I follow the guidelines from the authorities, is there a risk that I or my loved ones can be infected anyway?
– How deadly is the virus?
– How will this situation affect my company and my job?
– What will happen to my life savings?
– Are authorities really on top of the situation?
– How long will this crisis last?
As we all know, the human mind cannot deal with uncertainties – it needs to know. In the absence of robust answers to these and other perceived uncertainties, the mind creates its own answers, which most often tend to be imbalanced and geared toward worst-case scenario-answers.
- How to deal with the situation
Secure a high level of healthy activity
Few things strengthen our mental well-being as good work since it both keeps our mind focused and away from ruminating about our situation as well as gives us a sense of accomplishment (which makes us feel strong and in control). Also, we experience high levels of well-being when we apply our mental energy to problem-solving. People should therefore try to strive to:
- Make sure to spend time to plan their days to secure a good level and flow of their work activities. In terms of boosting mental energy and well-being, it is good if they also think in terms of the desired results they want from their work activities.
- Make sure to engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day – this could be broken down into 3 x 10 minutes; just 10 minutes of physical exercise, e.g., a brisk walk, gives us extra energy that lasts about 90 minutes.
- Make sure to create a balance between routine and variety. It is good if people try to make each day different in terms of what they do or how they do things. It could be simple things like changing their morning routine, for example, what they do and in what order they do things. Variety can be an antidote to boredom and mild forms of sensory deprivation.
In addition to this, people should consider to rate each day on a scale 1-10 and then explain their rating with a sentence or two. This will help them strengthen their self-awareness as well as their sense of being in charge and in control.
Make sure leaders stay close to their people
For leaders, this situation could actually be an opportunity to get to know their people even better, since the main focus for a leader in this situation should be to make sure that their people stay sane, active and focused on the right things. And since telepathy is a “skill” most leaders don’t master, talking to their people should be the approach. And here the key is the frequency of these talks. Therefore, leaders could consider to:
- Have brief daily check-ins in the morning or brief daily check-outs at end of the day, or both depending on the needs of their people.
- In these check-ins and/or check-outs the leader, in general, should do less of the talking and instead ask questions and listen, for example, a) how does/did your day look? b) what are/were the most exciting results or insights you are looking for/achieved? c) what is the most interesting problem you will work on/worked on today?
- Have a weekly team meeting where the team just share how they feel and what their most exciting results, insights and/or experiences have been the past week.
Identify and pursue “new” opportunities
There are a couple of opportunities that come to mind in this situation:
Improve people’s skills to have effective and efficient meetings
Having truly effective meetings is a common challenge for people even when those meetings happen face-to-face.
This challenge is even bigger when it comes to virtual meetings. There are a few things to consider in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of both virtual as well as face-to-face meetings:
- There should be a tangible goal defined for the meeting, that is, what tangible results should the meeting lead to?
- Each agenda topic should be defined in terms of how much time to spend on it and what concrete results should be achieved.
- After discussing each topic, the next steps should be defined as well as what the tangible goal is with each next step.
- The meeting material needs to be very clear, brief, and easy to understand, and circulated before the meeting.
- Each participant needs to commit to reading the material before the meeting.
- If a participant struggles to understand any of the meeting materials, he or she should try to reach out to the person responsible for the material before the meeting to get clarification. This is important in order to avoid having a meeting where people spend time understanding what they talk about or what they should talk about.
A good idea for leaders is to continuously ask their people what they learn about having virtual meetings, for example, what works well, what works less well, why, and what to do to fix it.
Go deeper, do things ahead of time, and/or explore new topics/issues
For some people, the situation we face could mean that they get some extra time due to less/no travel, fewer or shorter meetings, and/or that some priorities are pushed into the (uncertain) future. This then offers a couple of opportunities for them to consider:
- Go deeper on the problems they currently work on than they usually do or solve issues that they usually have not had time to address, for example, an analysis that they do regularly that is very complicated to do and could be made easier.
- Do things ahead of time, for example, things that they know they should do regardless of how long this crisis will last or how it will play out
- Explore new areas or topics potentially important for their work, for example, spending time learning more about a new or current topic relevant to their work and that will also build their expertise
Dan Markovitz explains why some methods of measuring performance and quality seriously lack the data to make an impact.
Pity the employees at a Starbucks in midtown NYC. In a misguided attempt to improve quality, the management posts monthly scores on a variety of metrics. . . without understanding anything about effective use of metrics. Measurement is a good idea, but only if it’s done well. These measurements? Not so much.
If you read Mark Graban’s blog or book, you’ll immediately see problems with this chart. For one thing, three data points don’t make a trend. With no upper and lower control limits, the movement in scores is nothing more than management by emoji — we have no way of knowing whether the movement is just random noise in a stable system, or a real signal indicating something significant happened. And why are they looking at the scores monthly? By the time they see a decline, it’s far too late to figure out what the root cause was and how to address it.
Read the full article, When Leaders Torture Their Employees, on the Markovitz Consulting website.
Geoff Wilson gets straight to the point with some tough love in this article by asking if you to make sure your strategy inspires.
The possibilities are endless. Some might say that the sole purpose is to ‘enhance shareholder value.’ I’d argue that this old trope is no longer the gold standard. Some adhere to the stakeholder model…which might be closer. Regardless of the ‘concept,’ a given business strategy has to appeal to a lot of people.
Strategy, inasmuch as it deals with things that are less certain and immediate, is an argument. It’s an argument formed from assumptions that are (or should be) formed from knowable facts and less knowable (but educated) estimates.
But, something tends to happen on the way to building business strategies that derails one of the most important imperatives. We lose the power of inspiration. Usually, we lose it when the hardcore management nerds get ahold of the strategic planning and implementation ‘ecosystem’ and start over whelming the organization with jargon, tools, and really smart pablum.
Read the full article, Are your people uninspired? Maybe it’s time to hang the DJ., on the Wilson Growth Partners website.
Miklos Tomka illuminates the importance of doing what you can to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus.
The Coronavirus is spreading fast and has spread inside of hospitals in China, exposing hospital staff. Various places are a source for spreading infections, light switches that everyone touches, is clearly one of these.
Ubiquilux has developed a product to reduce the risk of infections spreading in hospitals: a gesture controlled light switch. A light switch which does not react to random motions like motion sensing switches do (it reacts only to specific on/off/dim gestures) – the first true replacement of any switch. No one has to touch the light switch anymore
An independent, expert lead clinical study confirms that the new (patented) gesture-controlled technology from Ubiquilux is reducing bacterial load on the surface of a light switch (the light switch is a widely documented contributor of infection transmission).
Read the full article, Are you doing everything to protect yourself, your colleagues and your patients from the Coronavirus?, on LinkedIn.
It takes more than talent to become a valued employee in today’s workplace. Sherif El Henaoui identifies the benefits of finding the right fit.
Top people are desired. Every company wants them: the intelligent, creative, endurable, high-performance worker. Since this desired workforce is rare, there is a “war” as suggested by the HR literature. I once heard a quote of a McKinsey partner commenting on the Internet bubble crisis saying, “We won the war for talent, but we ended up with too many prisoners.”
We want to suggest a more peaceful view on the matter. High-performance is also a result of the cultural fit. This applies to societies and corporations. An aggressive, forward-looking sales professional works well in one type of company but is perceived as too pushy and less collegial in another. Is that the fault of the employee?
Read the full article, Fight Your Own War for Talent, on LinkedIn.
Amanda Setili shines a light on an initiative that sparked employee engagement, inspired innovation, and motivated collaboration.
What does a 110-year-old company do to increase the rate of innovation from less than one new business per year to 50?
The answer, says David Lee, Vice President of Innovation and New Ventures at UPS, is to launch a program that taps into the brilliant growth ideas lurking in the heads of many of its 480,000 employees.
The program is called Upstarts, and it invited employees to “in five pages or less, tell us your idea for growth.”
To spur interest, Lee’s team held mixers in cities around the world, from Shanghai, to Neuss, Germany, to Toronto and Miami. Employees heard what UPS was hoping to achieve through the program, and how they could contribute.
“It’s not just about ideas,” Lee explains. “It’s about finding teams of passionate, talented people.
Read the full article, Upstarts Kick-Start the Pace of Innovation at UPS, on Amanda’s website.
Dan Markovitz reveals a common problem that lean programs often face.
Boeing’s Starliner failed an important test flight two weeks ago. It was supposed to rendezvous with the International Space Station, but was unable to reach the correct orbit.
The problem with this engineering marvel? Not the complex aerodynamics, not the critical separation from the Atlas V rocket, not the all-important re-entry heat shield.
No, the problem was with the internal clock. The spacecraft’s internal clock became unsynced with the overall “mission elapsed timing” system, so the Starliner failed to fire its engines at the correct time to reach orbit.
So—a $5 billion project was undone by something that your $10 Casio watch could handle.
Does your lean program face the same problem?
Read the full article, Boeing Starliner Failure: lessons for your lean program, on Dan’s company blog.
Susan Drumm identifies how conflict can achieve greater results when it grows from cognitive diversity and provides a few factors that can help you build a cognitively diverse team.
When you imagine an incredibly effective, successful team meeting, what does it look like?
For some people, it looks like this: One person talking while everyone nods. Someone is taking notes while muttering, ‘Yes, I think so too!’ The leader wraps the meeting by asking, ‘So we’re all in agreement?’ And everyone cheers, ‘Yes!’
Now, I love a smoothly run meeting as much as the next person, but I also know you do not want a completely conflict-free team. It’s not good for your company (or your clients or margins) to be staffed exclusively by people who share the same worldview, the same personality type, or the same approach to business.
In fact, every company would benefit from hiring for cognitive diversity — even if it creates conflict.
Why? Because the conflict that arises from cognitive diversity is good conflict.
It’s conflict that results in better products, happier customers, more effective systems, and fewer missteps.
Points covered in this article include:
-What cognitive diversity is
-Types of conflict that arise from cognitive diversity
-How to make sure you have a cognitively diverse team
Read the full article, Why You Need Cognitive Diversity on Your Team – Even if it Leads to Conflict, on the Meritage website.
Dan Markovitz provides a reality check on the concept of management by walking around (MBWA); how the leaders at organizations embracing lean take a different approach, and why the latter is better than the former.
Theodore Kinni argues in Strategy + Business that leaders must practice management by walking around (MBWA), a concept popularized by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman in their seminal book, In Search of Excellence. That’s the best way for them to stay connected to their businesses and understand what’s really happening with their customers. As Peters puts it, “The real meaning [of MBWA] was that you can’t lead from your office/cubicle.”
I’ve got no problem with the concept—after all, it’s similar to the lean precept of genchi gembutsu, or going to the gemba.
But here’s the problem with MBWA: it’s essentially unstructured.
Read the full article, Please, Not Another Argument for MBWA, on Dan’s website.